February Update 2021
As we look out frosted windows onto a snow covered yard, we are deeply grateful for God’s provision and protection over the last month.
As I’m sure many of you have seen on the news, snow and subzero weather have caught up with us here in OKC. It has gotten below zero for about a week now and because buildings here (and pipes more importantly) have not been designed to withstand that amount of cold, Bill has been VERY busy keeping the buildings warm and pipes from bursting. We also lost water pressure for a day, and the kids decided to melt snow so that we could wash dishes and flush toilets among other things😂! Thankfully running water is back and working just fine.
Aside from the weather keeping us on our toes. One of the neatest things we’ve been doing is helping with ITG Kids! We are so excited to tell you that the ITG Kids YouTube channel has had an increase in views by 127.5% From Dec 2020 to January 2021! We’ve also surpassed 35,000 total views. We have over 200 videos live that kids all over the world can access and learn from. We encourage you to watch and subscribe here and share these videos with a special kid (or adult) in your life! We are seeing God moving and kids being reached all over the world.
Another exciting development with ITG Kids is the fact that we are building new sets. Through teamwork and a little bit of elbow grease we have some lovely sets!
Another big goal that has been realized, is that Bill’s workshop is almost finished. Over the past 8 months he has been designing and building his workshop here at In The Gap and… He’s almost done!!! With this facility in place it gives us the opportunity to do more projects like the ITG Kids sets!
We as a family are also going to be filming a few bible lessons for ITG kids in the near future, and are currently preparing those at the moment.
Also, please keep Bill in your prayers as he is venturing into the world of HVAC. Our campus has more than 50 furnace and AC units, and due to the age of it, we have experienced issues with some of the units in the past 3 years. In The Gap decided that the best way to steward our resources was for someone on our team to learn how to fix and maintain these units, instead of paying hundreds of dollars every time we have an issue.
As for our family we have a few exciting things that we’d like to share…
Daniel has started a new job at Hobby Lobby, and we are so excited for him as he continues to finish college and is tutoring as well.
William is still working at Chick-Fil-A, and is preparing to graduate high school this year!
Hope is finishing up her sophomore year of high school and has been enjoying her local Youth Group and co-op.
Ruthmarie is almost done with 8th grade, and is keeping us all smiling with her sense of humor. As well as wowing us with her various art endeavors.
And lastly… WE NOW HAVE A DOG!
We first met Goldy when a staff member found her on ITG property. Knowing Hope loved dogs, our friend brought her to our house. And we have been taking care of her ever since. We have made every effort to find her possible previous owner but to no avail. So… we now have a dog! Hope named her Goldy as we believe she is some sort of golden retriever mix. However in hindsight, we realized her name also correlates with two of our favorite MN sports teams! (Golden Gophers and MN Vikings!)
- Please continue to pray for the people supporting our ministry and their families: that they would experience God’s provision and wisdom in every area of their lives.
- Please pray that Bill would be able to complete his HVAC course successfully.
- Please pray for God’s provision and protection health wise in our family.
- Please pray that God would lead and guide us as we prepare and film our bible lessons for ITG Kids.
- Please pray that we would fix our eyes on Jesus continually
- Ongoing prayer requests and praises can be found here
This February is a special shoutout to my grandparents!
I asked my parents this: What is the best piece of advice you’ve every received from your parents?
Bill: In 2008-9 we were considering selling our house. However before we went through with it, I asked my Mom and Dad if they had any concerns. My mom shared with me that for various reasons, she didn’t think selling was a good idea. I took that advice to heart and boy am I glad I did! I was in my forties at the time I had asked for their advice. But, the principle I learned was that God will still speak through your Mom and Dad, regardless of age!
Patty: My Mom always said that poverty is more of a mindset than a state of being. In her words: poverty is in the mind of people. Let me explain, when I was little we were extremely poor. Even so, my mom never let me or my siblings feel inferior or sorry for ourselves. She never compared our state of living with anyone else’s and through that taught us gratefulness and creativity. She taught me how to make what we had last, and be enough. She led by example and through that, instilled confidence and security for me as a child.
Happy New Year!
January Update 2021
As I (Bill) sat at a table at my first Men’s Ministry event at our new church I couldn’t help but be a little nervous. But as I’m sure many of you know, I’m not a super shy person so I proceeded to strike up a conversation with the other man at my table. Shortly thereafter a second person joined our table, when I looked up to see who it was I recognized this person, it was someone from our family’s Sunday morning bible study/small group. Encouraged I continued to chat with both men, until a third person joined our table, as I looked up for the second time, I recognized this person as well, it was a fellow BSF leader. I knew to some extent all three of the people I was sitting with, even though I was fairly new! As I sat there, I was able to see a bit more of how God had prepared and connected everything in advance for our family to walk in here in OKC.
The above story, as well as countless other moments big and small, are beautiful reminders of how God is orchestrating his perfect plan in our lives. A few of the things that have been the most encouraging to us in the last 6 months are as follows:
At In The Gap
As we have been able to have many conversations with our friends, many of whom are also our supporters, we have realized that despite everything going on with the coronavirus ITG has still been able to live out its vision of sharing the gospel and equipping the next generation. This has been accomplished through a few things, namely: ITG Kids- a website and YouTube channel where we are able to make all of the bible stories, puppet shows, character teaching, and missionary adventures (as well as much more) available to the kids we would normally teach in person. However, as a result of going online we are also able to reach kids around the world, which is wonderful! Secondly through creating and publishing resources authored by staff members -who would normally teach the Leaders in Training or LIT’s while they are at ITG- we are now able to provide a taste of what coming to ITG to be trained would be like. You can find these resources at https://www.inthegap.org/courses/. We as a family plan to go through them and will be posting our favorite snippets via our Instagram @saunders_updates.
- Please pray for the people supporting our ministry and their families: that they would experience God’s provision and wisdom in every area of their lives.
- Please continue to pray for the children and the families we are ministering to, that they remember and know the Lord Jesus Christ and find comfort and wisdom in Him in the midst of these changing times. And that our resources are a blessing and encourage them
- Pray that as our family goes through the courses (mentioned in our Latest updates), God may use them to equip us to minister more effectively
- Pray that God gives us the wisdom we need to organize our priorities in a way that honors Him.
- Wisdom and guidance as we continue our support raising
Lastly welcome to FUN FACTS. In this brand new segment (suggested by Hope) we will be answering a fun trivia question about ourselves so y’all can get to know us better!
This month’s question is: What is your favorite character (besides Jesus) in the bible and why?
Bill: Daniel is one of my favorites. As I read through the Bible I see really amazing pictures of God’s heart toward him, (Abraham too!) and it’s encouraging to see how God talks and interacts with them. The verses below are the ones that came to mind as I thought through this question.
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Patty: Ruth (but also Daniel as well), I see in both gentleness and humility, as well as the fact that they know that their strength is found in God. These are qualities that I admire greatly.
Daniel: Paul: because God was able to take someone who harshly persecuted the church and use him for His glory.
William: One of my favorite characters is David, because although he made many mistakes, he still truly loved God, and even when he messed up he still repented, and continued to seek God and obey him.
Hope: Peter: The picture of God using broken vessels to do incredible things resonates with me a lot. And Peter is one of the clearest examples of that in the Bible.
Ruthie: Deborah: I think it’s really cool that with God’s help she was able to lead the army of Israel to victory!
We are so grateful to God to have you alongside us in this journey!
Quick note on scheduling, from now on the updates will be posted on the 15th of the month and the Encouraging Thoughts will be posted on the 30th (or 28th).
Coming out of the Blur
Hello everyone from our new place in OKC! The last few months have been a blur! please forgive us this update did not come sooner to you, but through your encouragement, prayers and God’s help… here it is!!
Last days in Minnesota
The last three months have seemed like life went into overdrive! Trying to close our business in Minnesota increased the work load quite a bit for Bill, working full time on projects all the way to the Saturday before we moved to Oklahoma City. There was no way to get things done on time on our own; but the Lord provided!
Many friends surprised us by coming to help in so many ways; from cutting tree branches and mowing, to getting rid of stuff we no longer needed; driving loads of garbage to their own dumpsters; doing all kinds of cleaning -scrubbing floors, appliances, etc; providing meals for us and those who were helping; packing, and much more!
A dear friend who was also in the process of moving about the same time, collected almost all the boxes needed for our move, boxes of all sizes. The Lord placed in her heart to do this for us, and she joyfully did it and not just that, she (and her son) also came to help us pack a few times, bless their hearts!
Another dear friend, volunteered to drive one of our cars and trailer loaded with stuff. This was such a relief for Patty because she was the designated driver together with our son Daniel, since Bill was driving the big truck.
We are so thankful for such kindness and willing hearts!
We want to also share an update on our house in MN. Our renters were able to move in on July 1st, the same day we left MN. Things worked out so well and smoothly.
In the midst of the busyness with packing, meetings, work, etc; God provided all we needed. We knew we were covered in prayer; we could feel the prayers of each one of you. The Lord answered far beyond our expectations!
God was so kind and gracious to provide us with the opportunity to say goodbye to friends and family. Our church -The Urban Refuge, prayed for us and sent us with words of encouragement. Also, our wonderful small group prepared a fabulous gathering by the lake with food, prayer and kind encouraging words. Thank you friends! We love you!
We made it safely, praise the Lord! We were warmly welcomed home by our team. We found a bountiful basket of foods in our kitchen -SO helpful as we were moving into our new home and getting unpacked. We are thankful for the work they had done in the house and in the yard -pruning trees, planting flowers and cleaning up, etc. We are still working on a few more repairs and other issues with potential flooding.
The enemy tries to discourage us as we are learning to live in a new place, things like, poison ivy -Bill got a bad case on his arm, thank God he is completely fine now. We are learning about new bugs, which ones are ok and which ones are not ok, we have a good live material for our science class (entomology) for our Homeschooling -taking pictures, and do some research, etc. Not bad! The Lord has blessed us with new perspectives… right perspectives (please see our Encouraging thoughts).
We met some wonderful families at our Bible Bee this year. Our Proclaim! Day was a blessing! God provided such a beautiful weather and we were able to have some outdoor fellowship. We were also so blessed to have some of the In The Gap team helping us out with our Proclaim! Day event. Thank you team!
We want to also give an update of how our children are doing. Many of you have been praying for them and we are so thankful. They have undoubtedly missed their friends, family, church and life in MN; some tears, and much prayers have been comforting.
God is so good! About two years ago the Lord first laid this adventure in our hearts. He has been faithful in caring for the hearts of our children in so many ways. First, God gave us the opportunity to spend a whole week at ITG last year. We saw the interns at work, preparing lessons and going to the schools to teach character classes and Bible clubs after school hours. Through Operation Impact and Leadership Academy our three older children got to meet new friends (some who live in the area) and also got to know the staff members. At the end of last year we had the opportunity to spent a few days at the ITG-staff retreat. Thank God for providing those opportunities for our children! even though the changes; they know many people here (even more than their parents do!). We live about three houses down from where the ITG-campus is, which allows for constant fellowship.
They are also able to stay in touch with friends via online and treasure so much the ZOOM meetings with Grandpa & Grandma and their aunt & uncle. We are so thankful God has provided the internet venue for them to stay connected with friends and family.
It has been a blessing to have our children alongside in the ministry and we are beyond grateful with the Lord that our children are enjoying so much to be able to engage in our work here. Thank you SO much for caring and praying for them.
We’ve had some of you asking how we are doing financially. As with everything else, do to covid, we had to adapt to the new changes and held support meetings via ZOOM; we did a couple in person as well. This allowed us to reach about 80% financial support just before we moved to OKC and we are trusting God to bring the rest; so we are still having meetings via ZOOM and over the phone from OKC.
We love our team! They are amazing! We pray a lot for people and for ministry matters; we fellowship and work together in the direction God is showing us at this point and we are looking forward with what is ahead.
We are so encouraged to see God expanding our outreach here in OKC and beyond. Right now with not being able to do ministry in the schools due to covid and schools been closed; God is opening doors for online outreach and discipleship. We are stepping into that door with confidence that the Lord is reaching out far beyond our expectations. And all of your support and prayers for us and the rest of the team is crucial! You are doing ministry alongside with us… Thank you for joining us!
All the things we shared plus many others we had to leave out or this update would have been even longer; are a testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness; He is at work and He guides His people. You are in our constant prayers.
Blessings on you all! We love you!
Bill and Patty
“…On him we have set our hope that
He will continue to deliver us, as you
help us by your prayers. Then many will
give thanks on our behalf for the
gracious favor granted us in
answer to the prayers of many.”
~2 Corinthians 1:10b-11~
HAPPENINGS and NEXT STEPS
Where are we? We are still in Minnesota. We are trying to pack up as much as we can this week; because (God willing), on May 28th we plan to bring another load of boxes down to OKC.
During our stay in OKC, we will be setting things up in our new place. We were so blessed with a wonderful surprise from our amazing In The Gap team; out of their own initiative they worked so hard around the yard from trimming trees, to planting flowers, to cleaning up, etc., preparing the place for us. We are so thankful for such kindness!
Another thing we hope to do that weekend, is to meet with our National Bible Bee families, we are hosting a group this year in OKC and the study will be taking off on June 1st. We are excited to meet our new families this year!
We believe that it will take two more trips to finish moving. The last one will probably be on the last week of June; here is when we will hand the house key to our renters and go. By the way, we want to share with you how God brought our renters to us…
Patty had a conversation with a woman from one of her Bible study groups; Patty mentioned that we will be moving to OKC and that we were praying for renters for our house; this woman said “we have been praying for 3 years for a house to rent, but every time the Lord has closed the doors.” Then she asked more details about the house and said she would talk to her husband about it. Later that day she called asking if they could see the house. They came two days later, and papers were signed up that same week. God took care of many details, big and small and brought people to answer our questions and to help us with paperwork and wise counsel. We are so thankful with our faithful God! and We are so thankful for your faithful prayers!
You could probably agree that this present situation has brought new challenges and opportunities all over the world. That is happening as well at In The Gap. Operation Impact had to be cancelled for this year due to COVID -19. However, God has opened a new opportunity. The team has launched In the Gap Kids. These online resources can reach so many families all around the world. Please check them out and share freely the link with others: https://www.inthegapkids.org/
Our responsibilities here in Minnesota have been fulfilled -Youth Group ended last Wednesday and BSF is also done for the year. Bill was able to attend the OKC- BSF Leaders group via ZOOM and has enjoyed greatly meeting with them. Patty enjoyed meeting women from many countries in her BSF Spanish group. Some of the women that joined toward the end wanted to continue meeting to review the Acts study. Patty and the women are having a good time doing so.
Bill is shutting down our business 411Build-It and has also notified this to the companies he has done service work for. He will finish up what is left of his work with them by mid-June.
God has been faithful in bringing people to join our support team. And from His goodness we are at 45% of financial support and many are supporting us through prayer. We know the Lord will continue to bring what is needed in due time. We are so thankful for your support and your prayers!
You are in our prayers. Please send us your prayer requests at email@example.com
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
Where are we? We are all in Minnesota right now watching the snow pile up on Easter Sunday.
What are we doing?
Bill, has been working with his business, trying to learn how to do support raising online, zoom and websites like this one, BSF online and getting things ready to move.
Patty, has been excited with doing BSF online and her group has grown quite a bit having Spanish speaking people from Latin America and South America joining her group, she’s working on packing up, giving away and de-cluttering.
Daniel, was able to be at the ITG Leadership Academy winter session, but his plans of joining for the spring session changed since it got cancelled due the COVID-19 situation; now he is preparing to finish his final year of college, doing online tutoring and creating this website.
William, has been working with school and keeping up with his fitness goals and even doing Karate on zoom. He is excited for the Bible Bee to start this year and is hoping that ITG Operation Impact will happen in June to join the team.
Hope, has been so helpful in designing our newsletter. Her creativity and resourcefulness have been such a blessing to us. She is enjoying her Karate on zoom and keeping in touch with her friends on video calls, but misses spending time in person with them.
Ruthmarie, enjoys the quiet pace we’re living right now, and it is encouraging to see. She likes to go for runs or walks with her siblings and has fun sketching and painting and practising her violin.
William, Hope and Ruthie are enjoying their BSF study via online. Daniel is on his second year in the BSF men’s class.
Our family is still planing to move to Oklahoma at the end of May, but in these times we need to hold our plans loosely, The verse that says that “man makes his plans but the Lord determines his steps” has been so relevant to us in this time we are living in.
We are still working on building our team of ministry partners that will be holding us up in prayer and supporting us financially. We are so thankful to God for all the opportunities He has given us to share about this new adventure. We will continue to share with others through zoom -a great tool to stay better connected with everyone now and after we move.